State Rep. Kate Lipper-Garabedian

From a Distance, New State Rep. Lipper-Garabedian Is Sworn in


By Chris Van Buskirk

BOSTON (Boston Globe) — State Rep. Kate Lipper-Garabedian’s swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, March 25 was by all accounts a sign of the daily abnormalities brought on by the coronavirus.

Gov. Charlie Baker administered her oath of office on the State House’s Grand Staircase, an odd sight for veteran legislators like House Speaker Robert DeLeo and state Rep. Paul Donato, D-Medford. Under normal circumstances, the ceremony would have taken place during a formal House session with a great deal of pomp and circumstance.

“You have witnessed a historical moment in terms of being here as a representative and as a speaker. I thought I saw everything, but this is the first time I ever experienced anything like this,” DeLeo said. “We were talking about even doing it in the Governor’s Council chamber and people felt that was even too close.”

Lipper-Garabedian, a Democrat who had served as a Melrose city councilor, takes over the 32nd Middlesex District seat after Rep. Paul Brodeur resigned last fall to become mayor of Melrose. She received nearly 80 percent of the vote compared to the 18 percent garnered by her Republican challenger, Brandon Reid, during a special election earlier this month.

During the ceremony, Baker and Lipper-Garabedian were appropriately spaced apart by about 6 feet while Donato, DeLeo, state Sen. Jason Lewis, D-Winchester, and Councilor Terry Kennedy watched from a distance on the staircase.

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“I’ve never seen this before … I’ve never seen this in 19 years,” said Donato, who has served in the Legislature since 2001. “These are odd times.”

Lipper-Garabedian said she is grateful people found time to attend her ceremony during the crisis. Constituents in the district she represents have reached out over the past several weeks with a number of concerns ranging from family safety to the impact on small businesses.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state jumped to 1,838 on Wednesday, the largest daily increase to date, while deaths attributed to the virus climbed to 15. Middlesex County, which includes all of Lipper-Garabedian’s district, continues to be the leader among other counties in the state with 446 confirmed cases.

“I mean, there’s a lot of people who are worried. What I’ve been able to say to many of them is every day, we’re putting in place a more robust framework to address these issues that are happening,” she told the News Service in her first public comments as a state representative. “If we don’t have an answer right now, let’s work together to see if one is coming tomorrow.”


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